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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Religious extremism ‘poisons’ Israel

Danielle Berrin is an Israel-loving Jew who is shocked by the Ultra-Orthodox revival of ancient practices – presented as the true Judaism – which are centred on policing women’s ‘modesty’, perhaps to stop men succumbing to sexual mania. Here she defends the validity of criticism of Israel where sexist habits are entrenched.

Ultra-Orthodox refuse all state duties

Haredi Jews seem an oddity amongst the diverse congregation of Jews. Many Haredim think Israel should not exist and they should not perform state duties, especially military service. It’s a growing problem -Haredim have by far the fastest birth rate amongst Jews at just below 12%. The national average is 2%.

Poor schools churn out poor workers

A study by the Shoresh Institute is damning about the quality of education delivered by the state. There is an elite who are adept in the hi-tech industries. There is a mass – including the Haredim and Arab Israelis – who cannot compete in the interesting and well-paid industries because of their poor education.

Contra-Zionist migration by Israeli Jews

Should we worry? There are 1000s of foreign immigrants who don’t assimilate, live in households where no-one speaks English and send their children to exclusive faith schools. Apparently not if they are Israeli. This report from the Institute of Jewish Policy Research uses the last census to analyse the growing Israeli population in Britain (almost all Jewish). Their reasons for coming here are economic as well as political – escaping from violence. They tend to be better-educated than average so leading to fears of an Israeli brain-drain.

What a load of haredim

In less than 50 years the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) will make up a third of Israel’s Jewish population. The Jerusalem Institute for Policy Studies warns of a sector which is singularly ill-equipped for the labour market, refuses to do military service , prefers religious to secular authority and depends on foreign funding.

Do the Haredim make Israel more or less of a Jewish state?

The formation of the IDF as a formidable fighting force was seen as the overthrow of an old Jewish stereotype (students, never soldiers) hence its centrality to the myth of Israel. The objection of the Ultra-Orthodox – who have been exempt from military conscription from the start – is not that fighting is wrong. It is that they are special, and insofar as they ‘serve’ their country, it is through religious study. The rejection of this brought Yair Lapid to power and a new law removing the exemption.

Likud Plus makes itself unmoveable

The Likud party and/or Netanyahu have formed the government of Israel since 1977, with a gap 1992-96. All are coalition governments making collective government politically weak and leaving effective power with the security junta. Now at the end of the spring session the ruling coalition has pushed through 3 bills which might strengthen political government but will exclude minority parties (Arab, leftist) – and conscript Haredim.

Orthodox men fight all out against women praying at Western Wall

The Israeli state, in the form of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, has ruled that women should not transgress on men’s prerogative of praying at the Western Wall. A large number of women have defied this – against insults of being ‘lesbians, whores, Nazis’, and have won a ruling from a Jerusalem court that they have the right to pray. The women fear this is not enough to stop the Haredim forcing them away.

Anti-zionist activists join with Haredi in protest against conscription

Once upon a time the IDF and all the Israeli citizens who had to serve in their citizen army were seen as the ideal embodiment of Israeli vigour, civic commitment and egalitarianism. Now that the primary role of the conscripts is to police the occupation many see military service as ignoble, troubling and morally dubious. Hostility to the Haredim ‘get out of conscription free card’ boosted Naftali Bennett’s vote in the January election. Perhaps the recent support given to the Haredim by non-Zionist Israelis will just prove the point of his Jewish Home party.

Israel’s coalition breaks on issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox

Kadima has left the ruling coalition in Israel because of Likud’s refusal to proceed with calling the ultra-Orthodox for military service. Avigdor Lieberman, leader of coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu, demands Arabs should be drafted into the IDF. Netanyahu’s seeming choice of the haredim over Kadima will create a government that is more right-wing and obdurate on the Palestinians, but it may now be more precarious,

Plan to make military service truly universal pushes Israel into crisis

Almost half young children in Israel come from groups (Haredim and Arabs) who are not called for military service. This destroys a core tenet of Israel – all citizens bear arms. It causes great resentment amongst those who do serve while avoiding the problem of conscripting Arabs. A committee headed by Yohanan Plesner to propose reform was disbanded by Netanyahu last week under threat from coalition partners.

Fundamentalists in race to cover up women

In an original argument, Lenore Skenazy suggests that fundamentalists – Judaic and Islamic here – are driven by the need to be different from today’s society and compete with each other to be the most censorious over women’s dress. Followed by news item from Ynet on failure of Israeli police to take seriously a violent attack on Natalie Mashiah by haredim

Ultra-orthodox soldiers say will leave IDF over women singing

Rabbi Moshe Ravad, Chief Rabbi of the Israel Air Force, resigned his position because haredi soldiers have not been exempted from events with women singing. Some soldiers have said they will put halachic law before state law and leave the armed forces

Ultra-orthodox present themselves as ‘holocaust’ victims

Haredi Jews, whose pressure to confine women and girls has prompted strong disapproval in Israel, dressed their children in striped prison clothes and wore yellow patches in a demonstration on Saturday. The claim that they are the Jews and other Israelis are the Nazis has caused outrage

Mass rally against ultra-Orthodox persecution of girls and women

President Shimon Peres has added his voice to the thousands who have rallied in defence of the right of girls and women to move and mix freely in public space. Like the settlers, the Haredim are now using violence against police as well as neighbours they disapprove of in order to get their own rule enforced.

Orthodox will expect return for giving Israel many babies and soldiers

The Zionist Orthodox offer this: the belief that the country of Israel is the holy destiny of all Jews; it needs as many Jewish babies as can be born and as many soldiers as can be made. Amira Hass warns that the ultra-Orthodox y now expect payback – in the form of banning women from public space.

Feuding between Haredim and secular in Israel reaches new levels of intensity


J.J.Goldberg writes about the intensifying conflict between the religious and the secular in Israel: “Bluntly put, how many Haredim is too many? How long can Israel sustain a rapidly expanding subculture that mostly shuns the work force, lives on public funds and doesn’t serve in the military?… Not surprisingly, most Haredi spokesmen view the entire demographic discussion as rank bigotry. “